A speed jump rope is a rope with handles made of a lightweight plastic, often polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Jump ropes are a relatively inexpensive form of recreation and exercise. Speed jump ropes are preferred for intense cardiovascular workouts and jump rope competitions.
Young children and adults alike have used skipping ropes for centuries for entertainment purposes. More recently, the types of jump ropes available have diversified; now, beads, leather and plastic are among the different materials from which ropes are made. A speed jump rope is one specifically made from plastic, a material that allows for faster movement than is possible with beaded or leather ropes. Many jump rope manufacturers offer models for around $5 US Dollars (USD).
Fitness experts tout the possible benefits of incorporating the jump rope into a cardiovascular routine. Using a jump rope employs plyometrics, a type of exercise that requires fast, powerful movements in which muscles are loaded and then contracted quickly. The result is an exercise that is said to burn about 10 calories (0.042 kj) per minute.
Boxers have used speed jump ropes in their cardio workouts for years; now, boot camp and other group classes often use speed ropes for short bursts of intense aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Individuals may also enjoy the solitary exercise that can be done anywhere with a solid surface and ample space. When performed in conjunction with strength or other cardio exercises, the jump rope can help raise the heart rate. Workouts that raise and lower the heart rate intermittently are said to burn more calories and stimulate the metabolism with greater effect than exercise done at a constant heart rate.
Jump rope is widely considered a legitimate sport in which athletes compete by performing choreographed routines demonstrating difficult tricks that are usually set to music. The routines are then judged and scored by a panel, much like the scoring done in dance and ice-skating competitions. The lightweight materials of a speed jump rope allow for more advanced tricks that require faster rope movement. Jump rope athletes have been known to perform tricks in one jump while the rope passes beneath their feet three or four times. These moves are known as triple- and quadruple-unders and are thought to be much easier to execute with the speed jump rope than a beaded or leather jump rope.